The Canadian government will put up $250 million as part of an “auto innovation fund”, a continuation of a 2008 program which the government claims led to over $1 billion in spending.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will make the announcement today at Ford’s Oakville plant – which happens to be looking for government money to help perform upgrades in anticipation of a new model being built at the plant.
The state of Canadian auto manufacturing seems to get bleaker as the days go on; Canada is said to be the most expensive place in the world to build a car, thanks in part to a strong Canadian dollar. The latest round of negotiations with the CAW did little to bring down labor costs, while CAW rank-and-file think the deal gave too many concessions to the auto makers. GM has consistently moved vehicle production out of their first-rate Oshawa assembly plant. In the last decade, only one plant, a Toyota facility, has been built in Canada – though others have been upgraded, no new real investment has been put in place. Ultimately, the $250 million on offer from the government likely won’t go very far given the needs of the OEMs and their many suppliers. But it’s value as a symbolic gesture make it worth noting.